By Julee Cobb
Kendy Edmonds, a senior at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, is expanding her collegiate experience to include back-to-back internships with the nation’s best-known entity for space exploration.
Edmonds, Valley Falls, who is double majoring in unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, flight and operations and UAS design and integration, was selected for a fall internship at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, after completing a summer stint at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She is using her aviation background to help NASA with mission planning, procedural development and components testing, all in an effort to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System, or NAS.
“My first internship with NASA was focused on the management of data collected from unmanned aircraft, and now I get to shift into UAS operations,” said Edmonds, who started at Armstrong Flight Research Center on Sept. 6. “What is particularly fascinating to me about this opportunity is the exposure to larger UAS that I am receiving. In my classes at Kansas State Polytechnic, we primarily study and work with aircraft that are lighter than 55 pounds, so it’s exciting to be gaining new hands-on experiences while adding to my depth of knowledge.”
The principal project that Edmonds is a part of is called UAS-NAS Integration Test and Evaluation – a years-long program aimed at successfully incorporating UAS, or drones, into national airspace with other aircraft. She has been performing operational planning for test flights and developing Beyond Visual Line of Sight procedures, which will be used as the standard for future unmanned experiments. Edmonds also will help expand the UAS-NAS Systems Integration Lab at Armstrong Flight Research Center that will verify and validate payload systems in forthcoming flight missions.
Along with studying both UAS degree options at Kansas State Polytechnic, Edmonds is a data processing assistant in the Applied Aviation Research Center on campus whose projects generally involve UAS. She also is a flight instructor for her underclassmen and served as president of the UAS student club before securing her two NASA experiences.
Edmonds will complete her internship at Armstrong Flight Research Center Dec. 22.